Yang Tai Chi & Shaolin Kung Fu

Tai Chi - Turn Back the Clock of Aging

Tai Chi & Kung Fu

Nature of Martial Arts Training: Imagine a customer walks up to the counter in a drugstore and asks, "I would like to buy some peace of mind. What aisle do you have that on?" As we all know, true peace of mind doesn't come in a bottle. It requires commitment and hard work.

About Tai Chi Practice

Master Yu (1929 - 2010) - What is Tai Chi/Why Study
Brief introduction before push hands competition
Yang Tai Chi - Shaolin Kung Fu

Master Yu taught that studying tai chi is to study the most efficient way to do something. Once you realize the most efficient way to do one thing, you can generalize it to everything else. You find the most efficient way to fight off an illness or disease as well as an opponent. He taught that one must have great respect for form, as it contains the secrets that can reveal themselves to a person through practice. These are the principles showing the most efficeint way to do something...anything.

Training and Community

Unique Characteristics of Yang Tai Chi

Yang Tai Chi
  • Extensive focus on health
  • Primarily study based upon forms
  • Slow moving meditation
  • Daily solo forms practice
Master Yu's Yang Style
  • Not simply holding the ball, but understanding it:
    point makes line/line makes square/square makes round
  • Full force in weighted and unweighted legs at all times
  • Rich in detail and precision to examine principles
  • Clear understanding of martial application
Sabrina - mid 20's

What I found doing aikido and tai chi for over two years now was the perfect balance of working out the body and mind. I feel stronger, healthier, and more confident. Starting anything can be very intimidating, especially a martial art. I had never done a martial art before but I realized it's more than just a fitness class...The cross training of tai chi and aikido has helped me strengthen my body and root myself to the ground...

George - 70

The Tai Chi classes help with balance, coordination, and perseverance. Steve, who teaches Tai Chi, also has extensive experience in the martial arts. He adds additional insights to Tai Chi by relating the movements to their martial arts origins...I also attend the Hatha Yoga classes at Still Minds conducted by Matt. These Yoga classes are physically invigorating and are certain to lift your spirits. Matt tunes each of his classes to match, with just the right amount of stretch, the capabilities of the students.

Jose - age 50

...I am an osteopathic physician with a holistic traditional osteopath practice in which I have been practicing and deepening my understanding of osteopathy at many levels for almost 2 decades. In this realm, I treat patients at many different levels which may include at a boney level, muscle level, fascial level, fluid level, energetic level, spiritual level or more. Many times in our aikido practice, I have mentioned to Sensei, that he is talking and living osteopathy…of life. You see, it seems to understand aikido or osteopathy, we should be living life and understanding life's preciousness and value...

How we Deliver Benefits

Self defense comes through technique and understanding - physical and mental. Without both survival is only due to luck.

Many people came to my teacher looking for improvements in their health through tai chi practice. In fact, I did as well. He would frequently tell people that if you want to improve your health through tai chi, study it for self-defense. Then your health would improve. I certainly found this to be true for myself. The point is to study the movements for their function, their purpose. Then you can investigate and understand them in depth. By studying the principles, you can learn to relax the body and allow the natural healing mechanisms to operate in full. However, by worrying about one’s health, the stress interferes with the healing process. Depending upon your medical condition, consultation with your doctor, whether western or Chinese medicine, may be your best place to start. However, tai chi is a wonderful form of exercise to improve balance, strengthen the legs and joints, improve energy levels and calm the mind.

Tai chi itself means balance. As a martial art universal and continuous awareness is trained from the start. Training includes use of peripheral vision as well. Balance is needed to execute techniques and falling classes can be taught to minimize impact and injury. These aspects - awareness, balance and safe falling - are key ingredients to prevent accidents and reduce risk of injury in the event one occurs.

Inherently arising from the practice of martial arts are certain existential questions. In a conflict, who is it that lives and who is it that dies, whether attacked from illness within or outside opponent. Through investigation we discover our enemy is not the illness/attacker, but our own fear or other destructive emotions. By learning to conquer this enemy within, we gain great efficacy in self defense, improve health and manage conflicts naturally. We understand that we and our enemy are the same, and the need for conflict dissolves. The student may choose their own path to answering these questions, but their importance in training is fundamental. Benefits may then become apparent in our outside relationships.

In tai chi practice, one practices solo forms slowly to investigate principles. The form itself do not teach self-defense. They teach skills that you can master by meditative investigation as you practice. In the absence of any pressure from an attacker, you can study how to root to the ground. Then you study how to connect your body from feet to hands so it functions as a single unit. Then the body can receive the power of the attack and release it without sustaining any damage. You learn to control the attackers force and defend yourself with minimal harm. After studying the 108 move yang form, other forms such as Shaolin Kung Fu show how to use physical force and ultimately marry the physical force with the mind force of the tai chi forms. Then the practice of push hands competition can be used to test ones understanding of the forms. For those interested in extensive study of partner practices in self-defense, the aikido system engages in partner practice as self-defense exclusively.